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La Liga legends: Raul Gonzalez Blanco

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In today’s history section, we would like to remember Raul Gonzalez Blanco – a Real Madrid and La Liga great with many trophies won in his career.

Raul is the 5th all-time goalscorer in La Liga, with 228 goals in his 550 appearances. He is a true legend of Spanish football and an idol of many different generations.

Often considered one of the cornerstones of Real Madrid’s success in the modern era, the Spaniard is the most capped player in the history of the Santiago Bernabeu, having made 741 appearances for the club. Only Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more goals than Raul in the history of Los Blancos.

Raul was foolishly released from Atletico Madrid’s youth team and snapped up by their
arch-rivals Real. Jorge Valdano is the coach to give him his debut at the expense of crowd favorite Emilio Butragueno.

It was in the 1994/95 season when debuted in La Liga, as a 17-year old skinny boy. He established himself in the first team and scored 9 goals in the league, helping Los Blancos to end Barcelona’s four-year reign as Spanish champions.

The first version of Raul, up to the early 2000s, was fast, purposeful and restless. Those three characteristics made him a constant threat for the opponents’ defenders.

He became the symbol of Real Madrid as they dominated domestic and European
football at the end of the previous and the start of the new Millenium.

Raul led the club to three Champions League wins in a period of six years from 1998 to 2002. He scored the third in the 3-0 victory over Valencia, in the All-Spanish final of 2000. Raul also netted the opener of 2002 final on Hampden Park, against Bayer Leverkusen.

El Ferrari, as he was famously nicknamed by Fernando Hierro, was the leading scorer in the history of the UEFA Champions League before being surpassed by the two “out of this World” footballers, Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

The Spaniard won La Liga six times in his career and was league’s best goalscorer in 1999 and 2001. He won the Den Balon award for record-breaking five times in the period from 1997 to 2002.

On an international level, Raul made 102 appearances for the national team and scored 44 goals. He is Spain’s second highest goalscorer only behind David Villa. Unfortunately, he wasn’t a part of the great Spanish generation from 2008 to 2012, as he ended his international career in 2006.

His time as Real Madrid player came to an end in 2010, as the Spaniard moved to Schalke. He won the DFB Pokal with the Germans and spent a few more years in Qatar and the United States, before retiring in 2015.

Raul is now coach of Real Madrid’s under 15 team, as “El Ferrari” is getting ready for a managerial career.